to want to name and shame my estate agent? And to ask, how?

(52 Posts)
QueenofWhispers Fri 12-Jul-13 19:29:17

16 months ago, I moved into the property of my dreams. I cannot afford to buy, and I am restricted due to certain circumstances to live in a certain area. I have posted about some of this before.

I honestly feel like our problems stems from f*ckless incompetent asswipes who think they manage properties I feel that the landlords are actually quite accommodating in themselves but because they live oversees the management company is who I have to rely on.

From the day that I moved in, there have been outstanding issues that were supposed to have been resolved before moving in. The list is long and extensive...and I was assured that 'of course these things will be fixed in due time. It's been 16 months and not much has been fixed.

The specific issue I will be speaking about today is a leak in the ceiling which has now turned into a collapsed ceiling in the sitting room. sad Brown water is cascading down--every single pot, pan and bucket I own is underneath trying to catch it. The other half of the ceiling is threatening to fall down. I did report this issue numerous times over the year (before when the leak was just a brown spot on the ceiling) ...They did eventually send out a plumber today (Landlords spoke to the management company on my behalf and reiterated how important it was that it happen today as I had waited far too long).

So magically someone did come today, tore open half a meter hole in my ceiling and then ran away saying they would send someone else 'asap'. When I went up, the half meter hole in the ceiling had bubbled and now a 4x5 meter hole is in it's place. The whole of the ceiling is 8.5 meters by 6 meters and the brown liquid is just not stopping. Management company (which is a notorious estate agent) had our property manager return my call who told me she didn't know what to do after the plumber had left and only could advise me when the leak had stopped...she told me to call the fire brigade...who came and told us that it was serious because the water was affecting the electric circuiting of the whole house.

Tracing the leak to a leak in a flat that is not occupied. Fire brigade turned off the water supply to that flat but there is an unspecified amount of water trapped between the floor and our ceiling and no one knows when the leak will dry out.

When the fire-man spoke to my property manager person about our home being un-inhabitable due to the mould, brown liquid and debris she told him she didn't know what to do as she was to be away for the weekend and was running late.

I am supposed to stay here over the weekend because I have no money (payday is next friday) to stay anywhere else...I have no family close by (I'm an expat).

I've got pictures, I've got emails and I've got rage...but who would actually care?

I had a DS with SN, and I'm pregnant with baby two. Why is this ever soo complicated?

Feminine Fri 12-Jul-13 20:03:14

So you are stuck then? just waiting ? have I got that right?

Feminine Fri 12-Jul-13 20:04:09

When will the landlord get back to you then? any idea?

QueenofWhispers where do you live someone on here may be able to help?

specialsubject Fri 12-Jul-13 20:07:28

evidently your landlord cares - and certainly should! Not much practical help, but overseas landlords are at the mercy of incompetent letting agents.

you need to pass on this story to the landlord, who is paying for this crap service. He/she should have insurance to cover the issues.

doesn't help immediately - my only thought is to ring your council's emergency accommodation people. I know it isn't a council house but they may be able to help.

and I regret to say that you need to consider moving. With a crap agent stopping anything happening, it's not going to get better unless the landlord can change agents and get it sorted.

ChocolateBiscuitCake Fri 12-Jul-13 20:08:35

Stop paying rent. Immediately.

Maybe post in legal too as this must be a landlord/tenant issue.

You poor thing.

HarderToKidnap Fri 12-Jul-13 20:09:22

Go to a hotel, stick it on a credit card and deduct it from your rent. After taking plenty of photos of course. Not sure of the legalities of it but that's what I would do and let them try and sue me for it!

OnTheNingNangNong Fri 12-Jul-13 20:10:01

Your local council should be able to have emergency accommodation. The agency need a long complaints letter about this. It is disgusting behaviour.

EccentricElastic Fri 12-Jul-13 20:23:28

Are you saying that the property manager has gone away for the weekend and left you in this dreadful state? If so, it is just not acceptable.
I would do exactly what chocolateBiscuitcakeand Hardertokidnap has said. Take plenty of photos from as many angles as you can, also measure the hole. Don't pay anymore rent, and book into a Hotel - as the firemen have said it's a dangerous situation.
Then on Monday morning I would be down at the Estate agents and raising merry hell, for they are representatives of your landlord, and I'm sure he's not going to be happy when he finds out what is going on. Refuse to leave the office until they actively sort the problem.
I would also be in contact with Environmental Health, and anyone else who may possibly carry some weight re this.

If you get chance - and if you haven't already done so - write down every detail of contact that you can remember having with the Agents re this problem.

Big hugs for you flowers too.

ediblewoman Fri 12-Jul-13 20:43:33

Legally I wouldn't stop paying rent, although you may well be able to claim compensation for disrepair, speak to Shelter. In the short term if the house is unsafe you can apply as homeless and in your circumstances should be provided with emergency accommodation. In my area out of hours homeless services can be contacted via the police non emergency number. Please take advice from Shelter before Monday. Good luck and very unmumsnetty hugs

FlorIxora Sat 13-Jul-13 00:08:10

Complain to the above if we're talking about a big company, they will be members.

FlorIxora Sat 13-Jul-13 00:11:49

Also I believe the landlord should have to house you until the end of your contract.

They must (by law) have insurance to claim against, and can use it to a) have damage repaired B) pay to house you until end of contract.

Have you kept written records of your correspondence with the managing agent.

You should also consider making a claim for your damaged property (if any).

FlorIxora Sat 13-Jul-13 00:15:56

DO NOT STOP paying rent. If you have a contract, you would be in breach of it.

My friends (6 yrs ago) just rented a place (50+ block of new flats) and a crane fell on it and destroyed the whole building and they were put up in another place for the length of their contract.

SamHamwidge Sat 13-Jul-13 00:18:51

Talk to the council. If your home in uninhabitable and you have children I think they have a duty of care to provide you with emergency accommodation.

How awful. My heart goes out to you. Everyone else has good advice.

gaelicsheep Sat 13-Jul-13 00:43:59

Not part of Chancellors group? Crappola agents extraordinaire?

JamieandtheMagicTorch Sat 13-Jul-13 01:08:27

Is it Foxtons?

kali110 Sat 13-Jul-13 02:30:13

Also speak to cab as they are fab

McGeeDiNozzo Sat 13-Jul-13 05:05:35

is OP in the UK?

Get in touch with your local council and also ARLA as advised above (if they are members). Photograph the damage,try and get something in writing from the fire brigade. I'd be taking them to court over this.

AnnaFiveTowns Sat 13-Jul-13 07:27:41

If you stop paying rent they have grounds to kick you out. I'd call Shelter, they're very good. If you call CAB they will probably advise you to call them anyway. I used to work at cab and we'd always signpost to shelter.

Chants73 Sat 13-Jul-13 07:46:39

Get in touch with Environmental Health at your local council. They can serve notices on the landlord for condition of property.

DoJo Sat 13-Jul-13 10:07:31

Shelter can also help with the legalities of what you can do.

Relaxedandhappyperson Sat 13-Jul-13 10:28:27

Can't your partner help?

QueenofWhispers Sat 13-Jul-13 10:59:57

Good Morning ladies,

thank you for your advice. We stayed with a neighbour last night (the silver lining of my neighbourhood is that I have lovely lovely neighbours).

I wasn't able to access this thread after I posted because my electricity has been turned off while this leak continues. It has slowed down to a slow trickle but the leak is by no means over.

The landlords responded as soon as they could with apologies and a list of people they have cc'd into the thread of emails who are also neighbours and a part of the home owners association.

Property Managers control the money--landlords have been in a lengthy divorce so this management company are paid the rent+management fee's and have access to the insurance stuff...the landlords are trying to figure out how to help us, they are being truly apologetic and I do feel like they care; but I don't think they can do much because the management agency controls the property (at least until their divorce is final...I think.) They have both given written approval of accepting whatever costs to fix this asap...the only problem is management agent has to send out their 'approved' repair people and the management agent isn't here.

The emergency property management say they can't do too much because the repairs sound like they will cost far too much for them to authorise (despite being emailed by our landlords) and that the best person who can help us is our normal property manager...who is away.

I'm not sure if I can name the management company because I don't want this thread removed--because it is helping me to sort things out (as I am a foreigner and I don't know what my rights as a private tenant are)....however one of you has guessed the agents correctly. If that can help me any further.

*yes, I am in London sad

QueenofWhispers Sat 13-Jul-13 11:01:04

My DH is lovely, but he's not sure what can be done either. He's quite shy and thinks we should just sit tight and hopefully something will happen to make all of this 'go away'.

Cravey Sat 13-Jul-13 13:04:39

Don't stop paying rent whatever you do. Mail the landlord back and ask them what they are going to do to compensate you. Them mail the company that manages the lease and tell them they have 24 hours to make your home livable or you will be billing them for a hotel. It is the management company who will have to pay for accommodation etc but the landlord will have to go through insurance etc to fix it and make sure you claim for any damages that have happened.

mycatlikestwiglets Sat 13-Jul-13 14:45:54

If the electrics aren't safe the house isn't habitable - you need to get onto bloody Foxtons the agent and demand that they organise temporary housing for you while the problems are fixed. You don't have to accept staying in the house and someone at the agent CAN deal with this for you.
The landlord will (or should) have insurance for this so don't worry about making a nuisance of yourself.

Good luck OP

QueenofWhispers Sat 13-Jul-13 19:49:00

No one from Foxtons has answered my calls all day. Left several messages. Electrician did come in to have a 'look' this morning and we haven't heard anything since.

I don't know what to do, I did call...all the time actually! I've been polite---I've sent tonnes of pictures. I've emailed the landlords...It's been 24 hours and I'm ever soo sad that they've ruined this entire weekend for me.

QueenofWhispers Sat 13-Jul-13 19:51:23

I really wish the estate agents would be more willing to help. I've never ever had such bad customer service.

DoraExplorer1993 Sat 13-Jul-13 19:54:31

Foxtons, well no need to name and shame, they are already regarded as the empitome of all that is wrong with estate agents by the general public anyway.

Private tenants have no effective rights unfortunately, as you can be given 2 months notice at any time should you try to enforce any rights you do 'legally' have.

My attitude to private renting was always to rent the cheapest place possible and save the max amount of money so that we could eventually buy somewhere. Maybe in London that's not possible due to insane prices there, but there's life outside of London too...

brimfullofasha Sat 13-Jul-13 20:02:57

Your local council should have a 'private housing standards' team who can come and assess the property and use legal powers to oblige the landlord to carry out repairs. Not great in the short term though.

CharlieUniformNovemberTango Sat 13-Jul-13 20:03:02

Do you have twitter? Contact them on there :URGENT, my ceiling has collapsed and electrics unsafe.No one is returning my calls. Pregnant and with my son with nowhere to go.

Or along those lines. Do it hourly - if the local branch has an account use that but also use the main company one too.

Write the same thing on their facebook page too.

ComposHat Sat 13-Jul-13 20:10:55

don't stop paying rent those who are telling you this are fucking clueless. ...tjat is a hop skip and a jump to a rapid eviction and never being able to let anything else again due to a poor reference.

ihearsounds Sat 13-Jul-13 20:22:40

Lots of london boroughs have emergency housing.. Usually based in town hall or civic centre. Contact them, they will help with the immediate problem. The council will also have a department to get all the repairs done, and sort your agents out.

You can also contact shelter, st mungo's and crisis.

QueenofWhispers Sat 13-Jul-13 20:27:28

If I 'tweet' this, will I get in trouble legally for anything?

QueenofWhispers Sat 13-Jul-13 20:28:10

I have asked my neighbour to facebook it to all the mothers groups she's part of...

CharlieUniformNovemberTango Sat 13-Jul-13 20:34:31

Twitter is a legitimate means of communication for customers and companies so I don't see how you could get in trouble.

If you are simply contacting them as a last resort because they won't answer the phone then so be it.

QueenofWhispers Sat 13-Jul-13 20:54:42

Foxtons doesn't seem to have a twitter account.

ihearsounds Sat 13-Jul-13 21:08:56
RenterNomad Sat 13-Jul-13 21:24:40

Ha. Knew it had to be Foxtons.

Use whatever means necessary to get your message out. You seem a little worried about accusations of slander, but you have made such an excellent paper trail that there is no disputing it.

So sorry you are going through this. Use your Council's private rent enforcement team, Shelter, access any hardship funds your work or union may have....

DoraExplorer1993 Sat 13-Jul-13 21:53:04

You won't get in trouble provided everything you state is true and you have the evidence to back it up.

QueenofWhispers Sat 13-Jul-13 22:09:12

The good thing is, it's all true! and I do have evidence and pictures. I've just never tried 'rocking the boat' before.

RealAleandOpenFires Sun 14-Jul-13 03:31:15

QoW, if you do twitter make sure you do include that your LL is being helpful, but it is Foxtons the agents who are being twots.

LaLaGordon Sun 14-Jul-13 06:06:30

The people telling you NOT to stop paying rent are themselves clueless. You are well within your rights to stop paying rent if the property is uninhabitable. When the property is made habitable again you should start paying rent again but NOT backdated for the uninhabitable period.

CAB or legal advice online will confirm this.

IME many of the people saying "Don't stop paying rent you will be in breach of contract" on threads like this are themselves landlords.

ediblewoman Sun 14-Jul-13 06:54:18

Actually LaLaGordon I was a legal advisor at an independent free at point of service law centre, the reason I am advising not stopping paying rent is because , whilst the OP might legitimately be able to stop paying rent there is a process which needs to be followed first, she can't just stop paying.

OP, please contact Shelter on 0808 800 4444 they are open between 8am and 5pm today they will also be able to point you toward free legal advice in your area. Please also contact the private sector environmental health team for your local area, if you call your local authority main switchboard number they will put you through.

Good luck

JamieandtheMagicTorch Sun 14-Jul-13 10:55:24

There was a documentary a year or 2 ago about Foxtons' sharp practices in the Sales market. Slimy.

They consistently overvalue houses round here.

BreadNameBread Sun 14-Jul-13 11:00:50

Can you tell us what London Borough you are in?

BreadNameBread Sun 14-Jul-13 11:05:46

Youneed to get you Councils Health and Housing team or Environmental Health Department involved urgently.

If you tell me which Council you live in then I will find the correct phone number. The Council should deal with this urgently. They can serve notices and make sure the work is done properly.

QueenofWhispers Sun 14-Jul-13 12:54:12

is it okay if I pm you which borough I'm in?

QueenofWhispers Sun 14-Jul-13 13:01:32

Also, I've had several very apologetic emails from landlords who have promised to reimburse all expenses during this crisis...luckily I didn't check into the mandarin oriental...damn my tight spending habits and stubborn habit of not having a cc; my unrealistic attitude towards spending is really making my life at the moment quite miserable.

I actually feel bad for my landlords, they both sound really embarrassed about this whole situation. I really don't think they have anything to do with how we're being treated.

BreadNameBread Sun 14-Jul-13 16:00:21

I replied to your PM earlier this afternoon. smile

QueenofWhispers Sun 14-Jul-13 17:04:19

Thank you Bread you've really made my day brighter.

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